24 Friday, March 28, 1986
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Continued from Page 1
ally informed Secretary of State parently based his decision on a
George Shultz that his organiza- number of pragmatic factors and
tion will not actively oppose the only after getting a consensus
Administration sale, touching from the leaders of several na-
off a wave of concern on Capitol tional Jewish organizations who
Hill and even among some shared his belief that this was
not an issue worth battling over
Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Cal.) with the Administration.
and Rep. Mel Levine (D-Cal.)
Sources noted that the current
have led the fight in Congress arms sale proposal has already
against the Saudi deal, arguing been scaled down a great
that the. Saudis have not only since it was first
failed to help U.S. security year ago as a $4 billion
interests in the Mideast but we had fought it out last "If
have actively supported the PLO and gotten the Administration
and other terrorist groups. to scale down the sale from $4
Sources say they and other op-
billion to $354 million, we
ponents of the sale are upset at would have claimed victory,"
Dine's decision to sit out the
one national Jewish leader,
confrontation and feel they have said
added that "we had already
been betrayed. One staffer re- who
won on the Jordan arms sale,
portedly told an AIPAC lobbyist
and the message we got from Is-
that "you guys convinced us of rael
was that Jerusalem does
the dangers of the sale, and not see
this sale as presenting a
then you pulled the plug."
In an interview, Rep. Levine_
Israeli spokesmen, who view
declined to discuss his views the Administration as very
about AIPAC's decision but he friendly, say that they are op-
said he felt "the chances are posed to all arms sales to coun-
good that we will pass our reso- tries in a state of war against
lution opposing the sale, and we Israel but they are clearly not
have a good shot of overriding a ready to do battle over the
Presidential veto." He said there Saudi sale and feel that it does
was "deep skepticism" on the not really pose any immediate
Hill regarding selling more military threat.
arms to the Saudis and that
Further, the Jewish leaders
most members of Congress will here felt that they would rather
not be affected by AIPAC's avoid a battle over the missile
non-participation. "This is a sale while deciding whether or
legislative decision and we're not to take an active role in
opposing the sale because it's joining Israeli supporters in
bad for America," said Levine.
Congress later this year to re-
Not everyone at AIPAC was verse the 1981 sale of still unde-
pleased about Dine's decision. livered AWACS radar planes to
Some staffers felt that the the Saudis. Opponents of the
organization's credibility had sale feel it should be voided on
suffered, one week warning of the grounds that Saudi Arabia
the dangers of the Stingers and never fulfilled its 1981 promise
the next week suggesting that to President Reagan to help
the missiles did not really re- promote the peace process.
present a threat. Indeed, a
Veterans of the 1981 Capitol
March 4 AIPAC Memorandum Hill battle between the Jewish
sent to Senators and Con- lobbying groups and the Ad-
gressmen characterized the ministration view the AWACS
Stinger as "an ideal terrorist sale as a watershed event, an
weapon" that might easily find open and`nasty confrontation
its way into the hands of the that no one wants to repeat.
PLO. But an internal AIPAC
"This wasn't a quid pro quo
memo issued this past week said
that the major threat repre- deal," a Jewish leader acknowl-
sented by the initial Adminis- edged, "but we're storing up our
quid for when we'll need it on
tration package had been re-
arms deal down the
moved and that "considering the another
marginality of the current sale's
Still opponents in Congress
threat and the excellent state of
U.S.-Israel relations, this organ- will continue to try to block the
Saudi sale. They will have 30
ization will not fight the pack-
days (after the April 8 notifica-
tion from the White House) to
"So nu, what's changed?" pass, by a simple majority, a
asked a Congressional aide. "If resolution of disapproval. gut
the Stingers were a threat last the President can then veto that
week, why aren't they now?
legislation, requiring a two-
Who are they trying to ap- thirds Congressional override.
Sen. Cranston, who is up for
AIPAC is maintaining a pro re-election this year in Califor-
forma opposition to the deal, nia, has made it clear that he
suggesting that it is a product of would oppoie even "bows and
bad U.S. policy and one that arrows" to the 'Saudis, given
does not promote peace. But the their track record. Since 1971,
Administration is delighted with they have purhased some $44
AIPAC's: position and stands a billion 'worth of U.S. military
much better chance of prevent- equipment, not including bil-
ing opponents from mustering lions more from Western
the two-thirds vote needed to Europe. How much more equip-
pass a disapproval resolution
ment do they really need? Con-
and override a certain gressional opponents ask.
"Saudi Arabia is to missiles
Dine, who is on vacation and what ' Imelda Marcos is to
unavailable .for . comment, ap- shoes," one lawmaker noted.
661-1000, ext. 250 or 275
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